Monday, May 24, 2010

Certainty

This has been a fantastic long weekend: concert on Friday, shopping and family visiting on Saturday, church and garden work on Sunday and mostly reading and basking in the sun on Monday.
It's the perfect weekend to go along with the tra la la phase. :) All is good and right in the world and I'm certain that everything is going to work out just perfectly.....and likely this month will be THE month. Sometimes it helps to admit just how much I think that this truely is the month. I shared this with A last night and felt good about it, felt more grounded.
I know it may sound healthy to be so optimistic and hopeful and maybe it is. The unfortunate thing is that I've been incredibly sure before... and then been totally, utterly, compeltely wrong. That's the deal with these phases, they repeat and repeat and repeat. It's hard not to take my 23 cycles and 'learn' something about cynicism.
However, the tra la la phase dangles a lovely hope that the past is the past and has absolutely no bearing on the future. And all my reading this weekend helps that too...luckily it also gives me a foundation to hold on to as the other phases come. It's a book called So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore and she's fantastic. :)
Whether the months ahead lead to pregnancy or other paths, I do have some certainties to hold on to:
- God has a plan for me/us and it is good.
- The path may not be easy but it will be worth it.
- Whatever the future, I will grow, learn and move forward.
- I have great people in my life who love me and whom I love. I am grateful for them.

S

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tra la la phase

I said before that one of the tough parts and also one of the saving graces of this whole fertility thing for me is that it is so incredibly, terribly cyclical. Inevitably each month there is a period of sadness, followed by acceptance, followed by some version of hope, happiness and peace, often with a good dose of skepticism thrown in, followed by terrible sadness.


But there is so much more going on and it's impossible to sum up in just a few words. So I'm going to try a series on the many faces/phases of the cycle. And I'm going to start with the hope and peace stuff, the tra la la part, which happens to be where I am right now.


There are a few tra la la days for me almost every month. It's the honeymoon period. :) It's the point of 'trying' and waiting and hoping. Oh, it's a sweet time. A time when I'm able to look at things with a fairly clear eye, the grief of the previous week(s) is fading and I feel normal, normally happy.


During this time I'm able to talk about the other days more easily, without crying. I'm able to think clearly. I'm able to hope and day dream and also think more critically about where this journey may take us.


I think a lot about the idea that God may be leading us towards adoption. I believe there must be a reason for this wait. We must be learning something, gaining something that will serve us, that we'll need in the future...in my future as a mother.


I often also get into a very hopeful thinking pattern of, "maybe there is nothing at all wrong! Maybe it's just taking time and the past 22 cycles haven't been the perfect time. But this month, oh, this month may be different! And even if it's not, I'm doing okay. I have so much to be grateful for, I'm sure we'll get there and it'll be great. Maybe I'll be late month and then I'll pee on the stick and then burst into happy tears! Maybe I'll get to tell A and oooh how would I tell him..." Thus begins tangental day dream of how I'd tell Andrew that we're expecting. I think I've imagined about 10 different ways. All very emotional and happy and romantic.


These are sweet days....even though I know the trip down from here is rough, I enjoy these days. See I only have today, I only have right now, the moment. Should I not enjoy it because the moments to come may not be as good? Should I ignore it in anticipation of what's next, or what's better? Should I overrule it in judgement of the likelyhood it lasts?


Or should I sit back and enjoy, appreciating the feelings that are right now, revelling in the good and knowing that 'now' is all I have and all I ever will and this too shall pass away?


I'll revel in the good while it lasts and be grateful for all I have.

S

Dye test

Well, that was interesting!

My hospital experience was actually great. I had a fantastic nurse who was so friendly and gave me all the information I could want when answering my questions. They did a great job of describing everything that would happen and the whole thing was really fast! Surprisingly quick! There was definitely cramping, and there still is but I did take an advil ahead of time so it's not bad.

The pictures clearly showed the dye spilling into my body cavity. Which is great! Wierd sounding but great. It means my tubes are clear and that's fantastic.

Strangely I didn't expect there to be any issues. Even so, it was nice to see the images. Gosh the inside of a uterus is tiny.... really tiny.

So that's the update! More about the fertility journey to come.

S

Monday, May 17, 2010

Out of the closet

Will I? Should I? Why? Why not? Who wants to know? Who do I want to know?


I've gone back and forth debating on whether to write about this or not.....my/our fertility journey. I feel very vulnerable around it and that makes me want to stay quiet. However, I also feel angry and frustrated and often so alone that being private about it doesn't work very well either. I'm also tired of this ridiculous sense of shame that is completely illogical and yet very real.

So instead of staying quiet, I'm going to write it out and hopefully connect with others and keep my close family updated on what's happening. Because soon things will start happening. After 1 year and 9 months, 23 cycles, we finally have appointments with doctors. Doctors who can hopefully help or at least investigate.

When we started down this path, we had been married for 6 months. I knew that it could take a while to get pregnant and was prepared to be patient. So for the first few months I was hopeful and just mildly disappointed when things didn't work out each month. I tried to stay focussed on other things, work, planning and going on our honeymoon...good stuff.

After about 6 months, I wanted to make sure we were doing things 'right.' I bought a great book on the advice of a friend and I started charting and temperature taking. This made me feel good. It gave me real data to work with, and I had the comfort of knowing we were doing things 'right' at the right time and I could watch my cycle like clockwork go up (yay ovulation!) and then back down (bummer menstruation). However, as each month passed I also felt a little more afraid that maybe there was something wrong.

At about the 10 month stage I had to have a good talk with God about the fear. I wasn't enjoying walking around with this bag of anxiety on my shoulder. I spent a lot of time praying, journalling, talking to A. I worked through a lot of the initial fear. However, by the 1 year mark, I was ready to ask for medical assistance. My doctor gave me a referral....oh the great hope of medical assistance!


I was finally going to get some help and it was just around the ... what the F*@#*&!! NINE months away?!?! Nine freakin months?!! I got angry. I got really angry and had the great opportunity to go to an anger course with A just a few weeks later. It was perfect timing and gave us some great skills for shifting energy and being loud in a safe comfortable way. In getting angry I was also able to let go a bit. Let go of some of the energy, "let go and let God" and move forward.

We made some changes at that point. We stopped 'trying,' stopped temperature taking. I did just the most basic of data collecting and we took it easy....focussed on Christmas, focused on being healthy and going skiing and even doing early gardening in January. It felt good to let go of the trying and relax. However it wasn't possible to let go of the hope each month. And it wasn't possible to let go of the disappointment and my growing scepticism, along with a deep sense of grief.


I know grief, I've had some experience with it. It's something that I have learned to live with and live through and I know it gets easier over time. There have been a few months where that grief was overwhelming and yet the beauty and the pain of infertility is that it is so cyclical. Inevitably there is a time each month when I'm dedicated to trying and doing my best, a time when I'm hopeful (the tra la la phase) and a time when I'm grieving. The grief is not for the month though, it's a big grief, an encompassing grief and I know I'm going to write a lot more about it because it is a loss that is so hard to define.


Right now, however, this post is long enough. I'm out of the closet! Yes, we are trying (and trying and trying) for a baby. And I'm looking forward to Wednesday, which is the first doctor's appointment. My first foray into the world of medical assistance/investigation will be my HSG test (the dye test) and I'm both nervous and excited to finally have something new to look forward to. I'm also incredibly grateful that I'll have A by my side, that I'm not really alone in any of this.


S

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Down Days Steps 4 and 5

Other than forcing the clouds to part and let through that brilliant beautiful sunlight...an art I haven't perfected yet...my options in dealing with SAD are unlimited. However, I think consistency is pretty important in my life. So I tried to stick with a few simple rules this winter to survive.

I faltered with steps 4 and 5 but they did make an impact so when I found I was falling down a bit I'd push myself to improve using these two.

Step 4: Sleep
My ideal amount of sleep seems to be 8.5 hours. That's a lot I know but it seems ideal for me. In the summer, it's not a big deal if I only get 7 or 7.5 or even 6. The sun wakes me up the next morning and I'm pretty chipper.
In the winter, however, I don't have that assistance and it's easy for me to fall into a dark mood that I can't shake all day long. Those days I feel like I'm always on the verge of tears....I'm constantly trying to sort out what is wrong. I'll actually ask myself 10 - 15 times a day "what's wrong?" And the only answer is, "I feel sad."
So I made an early bedtime the rule rather than the exception this past winter. It was rare for me to see 11:00pm from October - April. I'd try to get ready for bed early so I could turn out the lights just after 10. This didn't guarantee a good mood the following day, but it did ensure I wasn't overtired as well as sad.

Step 5: No Sugar
Oh boy was this ever a tough one to take on and I fully admit that I fell of this wagon more often than rode it. However, when I got down I knew that this was one thing I could change that would make a big impact within a few days. When I cut out sugar, I left behind the false ups and downs of everyday existence. Life is already full of emotional tides, why add chemical ones on top of them?
Now I wasn't hard core about it. I didn't count the sugars in my morning granola and yogurt or fruit. What I cut out was all cookies, cakes, mints, sweets, doughnuts, muffins....that kind of thing. I had a really good run in October/November where I was sugar free for about 6 weeks. Then I fell off the wagon over the Christmas season. After that I was on or off given how I felt.
Ultimately I knew that if I was feeling low, cutting out sugar for a week would help me feel better. So I relied on this step as a fail safe when the other things weren't working.

And that's how I survived my SAD winter 2009/10. I plan to tackle it similarly next year. Take that winter!

S

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Down Days Steps 2 and 3

OK there are only 5 steps in total so this won't drag on but I really do want to emphasize how important each of these was to me. Particularly the steps that involved a bit of a lifestyle change or involved doing something that I previously pshaw'd. Step 2 was one I previously pshaw'd, like for all my adult life.

Step #2: Vitamins
Starting in October, I began taking a multi-vitamin specifically for women. It has all kinds of good stuff in it and I figured it couldn't hurt. I took it religiously at dinner time and then forgot about it. I believed that since I tend to eat relatively well and I get my greens, that I should have all the nutrients I need in my diet.

However, looking back, I have never had a healthier winter than this past winter. I didn't get the sniffles, cold or flu once! Now granted, I am a serious hand washer but my level of healthiness went beyond germs. I am now completely sold on multi-vitamins.

Step #3: Exercise
I know the importance of exercise and in previous winters I have kept up a weekly date with a jazzercise class. However, I fell off that bandwagon a while ago and can't seem to get back on it. Therefore, knowing my tendency to isolate in the winter and knowing how hard it is to get exercise while sitting on the couch, I set up a commitment with a friend to walk once a week.

This forced me to get out of the house, socialize, and get a good long walk in once a week regardless of the weather. I may not have always wanted to go but I wasn't about to break the commitment. And even if I was hating it, or in a really down place, I could always spend the walk telling my great friend what was going on for me. Inevitably, even on the worst weeks, I felt better after the walk. Maybe I did still crash on the couch afterwards but I crashed after a good workout and felt closer to someone.

We maybe missed 3 or 4 walks over 6 months but we also added a walk every now and then. So I think we evened out or came in ahead of our weekly committed walking time.

These were two excellent steps in my plan and ones I will do again next year....friend willing. :)

S

Monday, May 10, 2010

Down Days Step 1

I have down days sometimes....down days when I don't remember what up days feel like. Down days when I have a hard time convincing myself that the up days will come around again. I discovered about 4 years ago that winter does this to me....there are other factors but our grey winter weather is the consistent variable.


When I'm down I don't want to interact much, which I know makes me feel even worse. However, on those days I don't feel like I'm capable of being a normal, personable human. I just want to sit on a couch and numb out with a massive slice of cheesecake after work....or worse lash out at anyone and everyone. Luckily I don't usually lash out. I usually cry or have a good rant and numb out on sugar and watch TV. I don't even have the ability to write about what's going on.


So I can really only share what those down days are like when I'm experiencing the up days. Like now in the spring when the sun has me feeling chipper and awake most of the time. That said, I believe that what I experience is the typical SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and not full depression even though SAD has all the makings of depression. The difference is that as soon as the sun comes out, my SAD disappears, depression doesn't work the same.....though I'm certainly no expert.


So I'm going to do a little series of posts on how I tackled my SAD this past year. Because I came closer this year to addressing the issue than I have in any previous year and I think it's worth sharing.

Step #1: Warmth and retail therapy
One of the difficult things about winter is the cold. When I'm down I get tight and when I'm cold I get even tighter. This makes it hard to relax and even harder to feel happy. So step one for beating my winter blues was to purchase and wear the necessary clothing to be comfortable in the cold.

Hello, new winter jacket! There were serious requirements for this jacket as it had to cover multiple uses. (I'm thrifty and not always stylishly so.) It had to be relatively waterproof and have a very good hood to block the wind and rain we get so much of in the winter. It had to also double as a ski-jacket, have close fitting sleeves, and it had to be either a bright colour or a light colour. Bright or light colours make you more visible when walking at night (it's night at 4:45 in the winter here!) from the bus. This is important because nearly being hit by vehicles or just knowing that you are close to invisible in a black/dark coat is uncomfortable. Once the coat was found and bought and loved, I was warm outside!

Note, some people may think, "just use an umbrella, girl." But the wind and rain here are not always condusive to umbrellas. I've had many turn inside out and nearly gotten stuck in the eye a number of times with umbrellas so I needed a better solution.

Being warm inside came at the expense of style sometimes. In order to not freeze in my cubicle, I would wear a long wide scarf draped around my shoulders in the office. Sometimes I'd spend most of the day like that but it was worth it. I was comfortable regardless of what I wore that day (blouse or sweater) and, therefore, happier. Plus I got a lot of use out of my 3 scarves!

At home I also engaged the warm rule. I wore a lot of hoodies and bought new winter lounge wear and didn't hesitate to make a fire in our lovely fireplace on the cold nights. I also always kept a heating pad and a blanket on the couch and usually added a good size lap-cat to enhance the heat. :) The cat is always ready to oblige and have a snuggle.

Step one was probably my favourite step this winter! I highly recommend it.

S

Friday, May 7, 2010

Showdown at dusk

We may have evicted the raccoon! Here's how the final showdown went. Warning: some dramatization may be added for effect...in fact, it's guaranteed seeing as how my husband (A)describes this entire thing in about 3 sentences.

Picture it, about dusk, air still warm, A opens the shed door intending to put a loud radio in the space to make it less comfortable for our uninvited guest. Staring back at him, frozen mid-step down the board that acted as his ladder to his 'nest', is the raccoon. They stare at each other for a minute.

Neither moves, each sizing up the threat the other presents. The raccoon calls A's bluff and continues walking down the board, past A, and under the lower deck out of sight. A crouches down to looks under the deck after him, the raccoon stares back. A issues a verbal threat. The raccoon is unoffended but scoots on his way across the yard and into the trees.

After looking carefully into the hole and determining there are no kits, A quickly goes about cutting a board to size and nailing it up to cover the area that had exposed plastic and insulation. Thus, hopefully closing off all opportunity for re-infestation by said coon.

So, no trapping, hunting or killing of the raccoon was required. Just a stealy gaze, a sharp word or two in a booming bass voice, (for a thin guy, my husband has some seriously low tones!) and some quick work with a saw, nails, and a hammer.

Bye, bye Mr. coon!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coon gate continues

No coons yet.

Trap empty.

Coon hunting starting to feel boring.

Maybe the sheer prescence of the trap, or perhaps my disgusted disdain radiating through the walls of the house, has made the place unappealing to the creature(s) and he/she/they have hightailed it out of there. Here's hoping!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coon Tales Part 1

I'm not terribly fond of the raccoon. They are scavengers and often cause a nuisance in suburban neighbourhoods but they are common around our area. However, I'm quickly about to get a lot closer to the raccoon that I ever wished....because they have infested our house.


The discovery: One Saturday, my husband, upon finally getting around to mowing the lawn after about 6 weeks, entered the shed to find things somewhat disheveled. Some wood was knocked over, some insulation was on the ground. He raised his head to find two glowing eyes peering down at him. He quickly exited and called a pest control company who came by on Monday with a humane trap. According to the conservation folks, they only assist with dangerous animals and a raccoon being a small mamal does not qualify. I'd like to argue the 'small' and 'not dangerous' qualities of raccoons. However, more than that, I'd like it gone.


I don't anticipate this being an easy endeavour though. See the raccoon(s?) has climbed up the wall of the shed, which is actually just a partially enclosed area under part of our deck, and dug a nest into the insulation between the deck above and the ceiling of the enclosed indoor room under the deck. Judging by the noise when you go into the room, there may be more than one....like a family!

If/when we catch the wild creature, we have to leave it in the trap, which we have baited with an egg, while we check the 'nest' and if there are babies, we gotta let the sucker out of the trap and allow her to move her babies whenever they are old enough to move.

Uuugh! And if there are no babies, we don't get the satisfaction of driving the wild thing far far away because apparently they will die if you do that. Apparently you have to close up the area they were in and do something to make it less appealing and then just let the sucker go, right there. How unsatisfying. I mean, I don't want to be a murderer, I just want a rodent free home, but I'd like it far far away, thanks.


In the meantime, my husband has turned into a nature of things cameraman. He purchased a motion activated camera, hooked it up to the computer, and set it up in the shed with the light on to see what he can capture.

Let the coon huntin begin! It's been 24 hours and nothing so far.


Ah adventures in home ownership!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Now What?

I have far more questions than answers as to what this blog will be. But the biggest looming question is: Why?!?! And the reciprocal: Why not?

The answer to 'Why not' is sooo easy: Fear. Fear of judgement, of misunderstandings, of cruelty or harshness, of exposure, of embarrassment, of a sense of failure if I end up feeling like I have nothing to write about. My husband's helpful response to these when I discussed it with him was, "Write about that!"

The answer to 'Why': Opportunity to face and let go of the answers to Why not. The opportunity to share my experiences and struggles. The chance to connect with others. And finally, because
Hillary said I should and ever since then I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.

You see I love blogs. That said, I'm almost 100% a lurker because, really, what do I have to contribute? So, how do I make the gigantic leap from blog-lover/lurker to blogging myself? I dunno but there is something about this that is incredibly appealing and so I'm gathering my gumption and trying it out.....just to see where it leads, if nothing else.

First post teaser: Racoon huntin...ok trapping.

Stacey